Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre embarked on a historic filibuster in the House of Commons on Wednesday — or tried to — and spoke for nearly four hours to protest against the Liberals’ budget implementation bill. Poilievre began his speech at 8 p.m. and vowed to continue until midnight, making it the longest speech of its kind in recorded parliamentary history.
In his address, Poilievre emphasized his commitment to speaking for those who feel voiceless and burdened by the rising cost of living. He criticized the government’s handling of the economy, stating that it has left many Canadians feeling financially strained and ignored.
But the effort was for naught as the Liberals, with the support of the NDP, passed a time allocation motion on Tuesday. The motion limits debate on the bill to one day, making it end before midnight on Wednesday. The budget bill is expected to be voted on at third reading the following day, with NDP support anticipated for its passage before being sent to the Senate.
The 900 amendments proposed by the Conservatives on Monday were also consolidated into nine votes to expedite the process.
Poilievre’s filibuster comes at a time when the Bank of Canada announced a quarter percentage point rate hike to combat stubbornly high inflation and consumer demand.
He criticized the government’s policies, arguing that they have contributed to Canada’s highest household debt level in the G7 and warned of a potential default crisis when Canadians renew their mortgages in the coming years.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland denounced the Conservative attempts to block the budget bill as irresponsible and juvenile, emphasizing the importance of passing the legislation to implement measures benefiting Canadians. She expressed confidence in the strength and resilience of the Canadian economy, citing strong economic growth and job creation since the pandemic.
Freeland reassured Canadians about the country’s economic prospects, citing predictions of a gradual decline in inflation and a return to low, stable inflation and strong economic growth.
“There is no country in the world that is navigating these challenges more effectively than Canada and there is no country in the world better positioned for a soft landing than Canada,” she said at a press conference.
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